A hearing will be conducted by a tribunal member who will ask each party to present their case.
The tribunal member will then make a decision that is binding on the parties and may be enforced.
Before your hearing
You will be provided information about when and where the hearing will be held by email or post.
Our upcoming hearings and conferences list provides details of where in the SACAT offices your hearing will take place.
If you are located in regional South Australia, the Tribunal will consider holding a hearing at a location closer to you or will conduct the hearing by video conference or teleconference.
Read more about SACAT facilities before your session.
During a hearing
A hearing is less formal than a Court.
SACAT hearings are open to the public, but SACAT can make orders to preserve the confidentiality of proceedings and evidence.
The tribunal member will sit at the front of the hearing room facing the parties. You will sit at tables facing the member.
Hearings are sound recorded so there is an accurate record of what is said.
SACAT has Protective Security Officers onsite to ensure the safety of tribunal members and people attending the Tribunal.
The Protective Security Officer may walk in and out of a hearing room at any time. If you have particular security concerns, contact SACAT.
If you cannot attend a hearing in person, you can ask to attend by telephone or video link.
The more complex the hearing, the more likely you will need to attend in person.
If you are in a remote area, this will be taken into account.
You can also ask SACAT to make special arrangements to account for any physical, mental, cultural or language barriers.
If you have trouble understanding English, SACAT can provide an interpreter at the hearing.
Contact us to request these arrangements.
Tribunal members are independent statutory officers who hear and determine SACAT applications in accordance with the law and the evidence presented by the parties.
You should address the member simply by calling them ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’ or 'Dr' and then using their surname. This will be on a name plate on the member’s desk.
If your matter is being decided by the President, you should call her 'Justice Hughes' (or 'Your Honour').
You will be addressed in the same way by the member.
Presenting your case
Each of the parties and any witnesses may be asked to make an oath or affirmation before giving evidence to the tribunal.
This is a promise to tell the truth.
It is a serious offence to knowingly give false evidence on oath or affirmation.
The person who has made the application will usually be asked to present their case first and the other party will then be given an opportunity to respond.
The tribunal member will often ask questions to clarify issues or obtain all of the information necessary so they can make a fully informed decision.
Try to limit what you have to say to the relevant issues. You do not have to use special language. You do not have to stand up when you are speaking to the tribunal member.
If you disagree with something that another party has said, do not interrupt them but wait until they have finished speaking and then ask the member for an opportunity to comment.
Address your comments to the tribunal member – remember that you are there for the tribunal member to make a decision.
If you feel uncomfortable about presenting your case in a hearing, you can make a written submission and give it to the tribunal member and the other parties.
The tribunal member will make a decision taking into account all of the relevant evidence and in accordance with the law.
The tribunal member may or may not say what that decision is at the end of the hearing.
In any event you will be provided with a written decision.
The tribunal member will tell you whether or not the decision will be ready for you on the day of the hearing or whether it will be sent to you (by email, post or other means).
- Be concise and only talk about the facts relevant to the hearing
- Listen carefully to the tribunal member
- Do not interrupt
- Be polite and respectful to the tribunal member, other party and any witnesses
- Try to be objective rather than emotional
- Tell the truth and be accurate
- Ask questions if you don't understand something or if you are unsure.
What if I cannot attend a hearing?
If you cannot attend a hearing, please let us know why you cannot attend as soon as possible.
Depending on what is just and fair to all parties, it may be possible to reschedule the hearing.
The Tribunal is more likely to reschedule a hearing if:
- the other party agrees in writing to the hearing being rescheduled
- the request is made a reasonable time before the hearing date
- a good reason is stated and supporting documentation is provided.
If the Tribunal refuses your request, the hearing will go ahead without you.